• The surprising truth about ultra-cheap Microsoft Office

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    MICROSOFT 365 By Peter Deegan Ever wondered about those ultra-cheap deals for Microsoft Office? Are they safe to buy, or a scam? Is the license legal
    [See the full post at: The surprising truth about ultra-cheap Microsoft Office]

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    • #2477086

      The source of some of these keys is from users with MSDN/Visual Studio subscriptions. These are only provided for development or testing purposes so selling them is very much forbidden.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2477098

      Trying to read the full article, but keep going around in circles trying to get to read it.

    • #2477139

      I did this W10$49 Pro Upgrade (June ’20) — Only because it was PC World / Pay Cleverbridge offering it; Joe’s Computer Forum … No.

      From the Ad …. What does 1-PC Lifetime mean … you can move and migrate to another PC later. Just remember to fully remove from old system first … That data & the PC W source left no fears.

      W10 Pro 22H2 / Hm-Stdnt Ofce '16 C2R / HP Envy Desk-Ethernet - SSD-HDD/ i5(8th Gen) 12GB / GP=2 + FtrU=Semi-Annual + Feature Defer = 1 + QU=0

      • #2477140

        Don’t rely on the reputation of the page you are getting it from.  Sponsorships and ads are just that.  If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2477421

        It’s possible that you can move the Office licence to another machine.  However, as mentioned in the article, it might be an OEM license which is only for one machine and NOT transferable.

        Peter Deegan

    • #2477143

      I purchased a “cheap” license for Office 2021 Professional Plus for $40 from ghacks.net several months ago.   It activated without any problems and so far everything is working.   I learned about this on another online forum and nobody on that forum is reporting any issues.

    • #2477153

      I have Microsoft 365 Family bought (and renewed annually) through the Microsoft Store.  I don’t trust “discount” Microsoft products.  YMMV

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      • #2477423

        Microsoft 365 consumer ‘subscriptions’ Family/Personal are quite different from sales of Office perpetual license.

        Modest discounts (say up to 20%-30%) do happen for Microsoft 365 plans, sold by legitimate retailers like Amazon. Best Buy, Argos etc.  Sometimes as 12 month, occasionally 15 month extensions.

        I’ve long advocated taking these offers to extend a Microsoft 365 plan for less money.  There’s no good reason to let Microsoft charge full price with automatic renewal.  It’s a classic corporate Renewal Trap.

        That said, offers of Microsoft 365 Family/Personal for heavily discounted prices (say below 50% of retail) are almost certainly a scam and won’t work.

        If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of the Microsoft 365 offer – use the buying advice in the article.  If the license/subscription extension doesn’t work, ask for a refund and, at worst, use credit card chargeback.

        Peter Deegan

    • #2477212
      Shalom friends,
      I have just read Peter Deegan’s column about cheap MS Office and I’d like to share my experience.
      A few years ago I bought Office pro 2019 for just under $2.  I did suspect it, but, as you wrote I said ”what the heck can happen!”.
      Setup was a little complicated, but I managed.
      I have been using it all the time, transferred it to a new computer, smooth, regular setup.
      I received & installed updates alright.
      Sometimes good surprises happen.
      • #2477252

        I can guarantee that it’s not legit.  It may be still working and for you that’s enough, but it’s not a truly valid license at $2.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2477215

      Just now, on Ebay

      Microsoft Office 2021 Standard Schlüssel MS Produktkey Software per E-Mail

      Opens in a new window or tab

      Brand New
      ILS 32.48
      Buy It Now Free International Shipping
      from Germany

      At current rate = $9.65
      I rest my case

      • #2477256

        Doesn’t prove it’s legit.  I can buy a lot of things on ebay that are not truly licensed but “work”.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2477272

          Thanks Susan Bradley,

          1. How can I know if it is legit or not?
          2. How come MS don’t take action against this would be fraud?

          And… something else, I am a “devote” follower of your recommendations in your Patch Lady “mission”.

          laksi (aka Yaakov Laks)

          • #2477294
            1. it’s too cheap  $2 a license they don’t recoup their costs.  If it’s drastically different than the price of the Microsoft web site, someone is getting ripped off
            2. In the grand scheme it’s not enough for them to go after… or they will once it costs them enough.

            Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

          • #2477301

            Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2477424

            Just to echo Susan’s remarks.

            1.  At that price it’s definitely not been sourced legitimately.
            2. It’s surprising that Microsoft doesn’t pursue this more strongly, not even bothering with simple checks that would take a lowly staffer a few minutes each day.  I’ve seen obviously illegal ads on both Amazon and Ebay which stay there for a long time with neither the web site nor Microsoft acting.  That’s until I mention them in an article then, poof!, within a day they all disappear.

            Peter Deegan

    • #2477326

      I have the cheapest “Office” license of all — LibreOffice!


      -- rc primak

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2477373

      I’ve purchased 5 of those MS OFFICE 2021 Pro licenses this year. All went well, each simply asked for the “key” at initial startup and good to go. Been using since April 2022 with no issues. Paid between $25 and $50 for the licenses – from Facebook ads. If I get another PC I’ll do it again. I hate subscriptions.

    • #2477380

      Don’t rely on the reputation of the page you are getting it from.  Sponsorships and ads are just that.  If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.

      Posting this in case someone spots an Uh-Oh that educates others better about legit cheap Licenses. I DO hope it’s legit.

      Via …. slmgr dlv – in CMD PROMPT


      W10 Pro 22H2 / Hm-Stdnt Ofce '16 C2R / HP Envy Desk-Ethernet - SSD-HDD/ i5(8th Gen) 12GB / GP=2 + FtrU=Semi-Annual + Feature Defer = 1 + QU=0

    • #2477440

      Thank you Peter Deegan for your research and article about the low priced Microsoft Office 2021 License Product Keys. I am reporting in concerning my February 24, 2022 post about my buying a $15 License for Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus. It has now been just over six months, and all is well, still licensed and activated. There may be some concerns that at some time in the future Microsoft would chose to de-activate these low priced licenses, so I am reporting in that that has not happened yet. Back in my April 3, 2022 post I mentioned that the price was $14.99, and now in September 2022 inflation has raised the price to a whopping $15.49. Back on April 3, I mentioned that anyone willing to gamble and risk the money, the Joy Warp website had a good rep at Trustpilot with 83 reviews and a 4.8 Star rating. Today Trustpilot shows for JoyWarp 186 reviews with 4.8 Star Excellent rating. Most of the complaints are anwsered by the JoyWarp Team, and appear to be OE Operator Error – PEBCAK.

      My logic is I can buy several copies at $37 over a 3 or 4 year period and come out far ahead of buying retail.

      I think the Microsoft retail price is about $440 for Office 2021 Pro so I am comfortable with the JoyWarp price of around $15. If it is ever de-activated, and I really want or need MS Office (instead of LibreOffice) I can afford to buy it a few more times as necessary. Thank you again for coming back to this subject and sharing your expertise.

      Computers become slow when they sense that their servants are in a hurry.
      • #2477483

        Thanks for your kind remarks.

        It’s theoretically possible for Microsoft to deactivate an Office licence at any time. Their activation technology allows for that.

        However I’ve not heard of them doing that.  They probably figure the backlash would be too costly in PR terms since the software had been OK’d (activated) already.

        In short: once activated, it’s unlikely that the Office license might be revoked.

        Peter D/

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2477489

      Another example :

      Office 2021 Professional: $24.95 with code R50 | Original price: $699 | Retail


      Product Description

      Office Professional Plus 2021 download link:

      * I am a LibreOffice user.

    • #2477552

      It’s infuriating how the home users get gouged on the pricing.  This alone is reason to be somewhat dismayed by the hold that MS Office can have.

      Both Libre & Open Office have limitations.  I was trying to assist a friend the other day with mail merge & Libre was not having it despite instructions from their support page.  Not being an expert on mail merge contributed to my lack of effectiveness.

      The learning curve on some of these “nuances” shall we say can be a challenge to say the least.  In my own personal case, I’m not dependent on complicated accounting or other more involved tasks like mail merge.

      I liked Libre until I went through image manipulation & numbering dilemmas. This is where I jumped to Open Office & haven’t looked back.

      Win 8.1 (home & pro) Group B, Linux Dabbler

    • #2477564

      I understand about relicensing to get cheap Microsoft Office, but that doesn’t explain my experiences.

      Every version of Microsoft Office has cost me $9.95 (yes, this price stayed the same since my 2007 purchase). I usually only upgraded every two to four years unless a new version had something I wanted. I was contacted via email thru my company IT department that relayed an offer directly from Microsoft. My company IT made it clear that the company had nothing to do with the offer and any transaction had to be made from their personal computer. I purchased Microsoft Office Professional directly from Microsoft, which I downloaded from a Microsoft server. These were full independent registered installs. Each year I would get an offer directly from Microsoft to upgrade for $9.95. I don’t know if this a deal between my company and Microsoft, but Microsoft never even asked what company I worked for and Microsoft charged my personal credit card.  The receipt that Microsoft sent me had no mention of my company’s name, just my name.  This may have been due to being active in the medical profession because since I have retired I no longer get these offers.

      HTH, Dana:))

      • #2477611

        It sounds like you’re talking about Microsoft’s Home Use Program HUP which is available to all staff from organizations with Microsoft Office licences and Software Assurance.

        > My company IT made it clear that the company had nothing to do with the offer

        That’s not strictly true because the Home Use Program is part of their Office license agreement.

        > any transaction had to be made from their personal computer.

        Again, not strictly necessary.

        All that’s necessary, these days, is that you verify your entitlement using your corporate email address.  It was different in years past but has been streamlined in recent years.

        > I purchased Microsoft Office Professional directly from Microsoft,

        Yes, if you qualify for the HUP the purchase and fulfilment is now direct from Microsoft.

        These days, only Microsoft 365 Family/Personal is available via the HUP.  As far as I’m aware, perpetual license Office (2021 or 2019) is no longer available via HUP.

        Peter Deegan

        • #2477946


          We were never told why we were being offered this from Microsoft.
          The last one I got before I retired was Office 2019. I guess I’ll be looking at the cheap Office upgrades in the future because I don’t want to take the time to learn how to do things with a new application that I already know how to with Office apps.

          HTH, Dana:))

    • #2481007

      I brought one of these licenses about 8 months ago for Office Pro 2016.  But what I received was a key for the non-Pro version.  I asked for the correct product or a refund.  The vendor gave me a refund, indicating that they intended to cheat from the beginning.  Look close and make sure you received what you ordered.

      A few months after that I decided to try again as my Office 2007 was out of support.  Chose another vendor, got the key, which was at least ID’d as the correct version. However, the instructions required me to download the software image from them.  I said to self, NO FREAKING WAY!

      So I went to Microsoft and downloaded Office 2016 and then applied the key.  I had to call on the telephone to make it work but it did work.

      I would never download software from some unknown website.  That’s just asking for troubles.

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